Darth Vader #1

Darth Vader #1

Writer: Charles Soule
Penciller: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: Cam Smith
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Jim Cheung & Matthew Wilson

With this new Darth Vader #1 series, I would assume that Charles Soule took on this project because he had something say. Somewhere there was a Darth Vader story that he felt was worthwhile to share with the fans, something we haven’t seen before. Unfortunately, in reading Darth Vader #1, I cannot fathom what that story or objective was. Perhaps this is just the setup to get us to that story, but either way, this felt like a very weak start to a new series. I guess on the bright side, the next issue will surely be better…right?

The issue opens with one of the final scenes from Revenge of the Sith. It’s the part where Vader wakes up in his new body and realizes Padme is dead. While the artwork is very stylized and cartoony, it’s not too bad. There’s a certain pleasing aesthetic to it that can work. Furthermore the lighting and colors are gorgeous. But this lead in to this epic, powerful moment is robbed of all of its emotion with little sound effect bubble. In his anger, Vader Force pushes Palpatine. The comic decides to show this big, gorgeous two page spread, which for some reason includes Palpatine saying “Ungh!” Inadvertently, this actually completes the comic effect of the scene and rather than feeling like an epic moment, it feels like a laughable newspaper strip. I doubt that’s what the creators were going for.

So, a misstep right from the get go, but that’s certainly no reason to throw the whole thing away. Except then Palpatine decides to electrocute Vader with some Force lightning as a petty punishment for Force pushing him. The panels yield way to some inconsistent illustrations of Palpatine which make it visually jarring. But the dialog, the interaction between Palpatine and Vader during this moment that serves as one of the most important moments in Vader’s life…it’s so lackluster. Rather than revealing some insidious manipulation by Palpatine, some fundamental shift in Vader’s pysche, it’s just a story point so we can show Vader going on adventure to get a replacement lightsaber. Anticlimatic doesn’t even begin to describe it.

The story pushes on, and that’s exactly the direction it is heading. Vader lost his lightsaber on Mustafar and now he needs a replacement. They throw in a nod to the Ahsoka novel and how Sith bleed their lightsabers to make them red, and Vader is dropped off on some planet where he quickly begins killing people. That pretty much sums it up.

Some examples of the fluctuating depictions. You can see the one on the left is much more cartoony than the one on the right.

The art is a little hit and miss. Some of the panels look really good for a cartoony look, but some of the panels just look cartoony. It doesn’t scream epic Vader which is the direction a comic series like this should be heading. At least it’s not all bad.

As a bonus, there’s another goofy newspaper style comic by Chris Eliopoulos and Jordie Bellaire. Like all of the others, I didn’t like this one, and I’m not sure how many people out there actually like any of these. On one hand you might think it’s nice to get a bonus comic, but on the other, they make you pay for those extra pages and this issue is $4.99 because of it. I’d rather save a dollar to be honest.

A great image, even though it is cartoony.

Darth Vader #1 may work better for some fans, but for me, it was a rough start to a series that I’m not very confident about. The artwork is okay, but the writing is the real weakness as Vader and Palpatine don’t come off as the epic characters that they should be. The time period is an excellent choice as there is tremendous potential. Unfortunately, I don’t think Charles Soule will be able to pull it off, especially if the rest of the series is like this issue. I give it two out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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